Movie Studios In Talks With Theaters To Shorten Window Between Theatrical And Home Releases

– by Joseph Medina
Image via Warner Bros.

Image via Warner Bros.

We live in a world of constant landscape changes. Businesses that have stood rock solid for decades are facing monumental shifts, forcing big companies to rethink the way they do things. The entertainment business is no different, and in fact, one could argue that it’s one of the industries most affected. People are willing to pay for food, people are willing to pay for utilities, but when it comes to luxuries like entertainment, many are often willing to resort to other, less legal means to get their film fix. Additionally, technology has advanced so much, that many are able to have a legit theater experience at home, and with a lot of money getting lost between theater and home release, studios are now looking for other ways to capitalize.

So what’s the solution? While there are some companies like The Screening Room that hope to bring theatrical releases to home theaters around the same time, the studios are seeming to go for a different approach. Rather than cut out theatrical chains altogether, they’re looking to potentially close the window between the theatrical release of the film and the home release.



According to Bloomberg, Kevin Tsujihara, the head of Warner Bros., stated in a recent conference call that he had engaged in talks with exhibitors about a “premium home-video offering.”:

“We’re working with them to try and create a new window. But regardless of whether it happens or not -- whether we are able to reach that agreement with them, we have to offer consumers more choices earlier.”

So what’s bringing about these thoughts? Well, it turns out that the home release market has turned stagnant, and as such, studios like Universal and Warner Bros. have felt the need to open discussions about ways to increase their revenue on the home front. At a presentation this week at the Credit Suisse conference (via Variety), Tsujihara expanded on the quote above, stating:

“If you start with the consumer, they’re telling us very clearly they want it [earlier]. That’s where all the pirating is occurring, right? And so we have to meet that demand with a legal solution. And so as I’ve said, we’re trying to work with our partners on the exhibition community.”

Just how much earlier can we expect? There was no comment on that. That being said, this would be a smart thing for studios to pursue. Usually, a few weeks after a film’s release is when most are willing to make a home purchase. Of course, the problem is that they’d have to find that sweet spot in their release window. When could they release it so that it’ll maximize home sales without cannibalizing box office sales?

Luckily there are much smarter people than me making these decisions. But what do you think? How many weeks after a theater run should a film hit home release? Let us know your thoughts down below!

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SOURCES: Bloomberg, Variety

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